I don’t know Paris that well, but my big sis lives there and so I’ve been over a few times in the last few years. Here are some suggestions of things to do:
– Places to stay: Hotel Mamashelter (see below): Philippe Starck-designed hotel in the same Menilmontant/Belleville area, with funky bar downstairs serving great cocktails and cool little rooms including batman masks over the lamps. Cheap and in a great area. I’ve also been recommended the Hotel Eldorado.
– For a cheap and cheerful dinner try Heureux comme Alexandre for a great value (15 euros) meat or cheese fondu and a relaxed atmosphere.
– For a posh dinner try Georges at the top of the Pompidou (see view from the terrace below), try the Tigre qui Pleure main but beware the skimpily dressed rather snooty waiting staff; The Buddha Bar or Les Ombres which has an amazing view of the Tour Eiffel and a great tasting menu. Just make sure you can swallow the £100+ per head tab.
– Things to do: Cemetery Pere Lachaise: visit this gorgeous cemetery near Belleville/Menilmontant which is like a small town (recently visited by Russell Brand and Katy Perry no less). Get a map and visit the tombstones of Jim Morrisson, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf and Chopin, and wonder at the intricate tombstones of centuries of Parisiens. A great area too with great restaurants and bars nearby.
– Otherwise stroll round the Marais and Montmartre, taking in the view from the Sacre Coeur and having a coffee in the Place du Tertre. Wander down the Canal St Martin where Amelie was mostly filmed. Go the the Louvre but avoid the snooty Cafe Marly (wouldn’t even let me take a look around). Check out Notre Dame and the wonderful Shakespeare bookshop. And do a bateau mouche along the Seine.
Remember its also the 120th anniversary of the Eiffel tower this year so on the hour you get very cool lightshows!